YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arsen Gasparian reaffirmed Monday that his nation’s leadership and that of Karabakh stood in solidarity with one another with regards to the current conflict in the mountainous enclave–and that reports to the contrary appearing in the Turkish press were fabricated to cater to public opinion in Turkey.
Speaking at a press conference in Armenia–Gasparian pointed out that during an address to the United Nations recently–he had clearly supported the right of the people of Karabakh to self-determination–which was consistent with Levon Ter-Petrossyan’s views conveyed at the Lisbon Summit.
"Armenia hasn’t changed its position regarding the principle of self-determination since the Lisbon Summit," Gasparian said.
Gasparian pointed out that Armenia had always been a supporter of a step-by-step settlement of the Karabakh conflict–but that acceptance of a step-by-step settlement scheme as a basis for negotiations did not necessarily mean such an approach would be accepted as a basis for settlement of the entire conflict.
Gasparian continued by saying it was necessary to pass through a long negotiating process in order to bring about peace–and that the conflicting sides should arrive at an agreement so that the basis of negotiations could become a basis for the process of the restoration of peace.
"We will further expand on our position on this matter during the forthcoming visit of the OSCE Minsk group representatives to the region–so the process will go on," Gasparian said.
Gasparian added that Azerbaijan should focus on initiating direct talks with Karabakh regarding resolution of the conflict–and avoid involving third parties that would only confused the matter more.
"It would be better if–at this crucial moment–Azerbaijan focuses on initiating peace–and start direct talks with Karabakh since only direct talks can yield a breakthrough and give a new impetus to the Minsk process," Gasparian said.
Gasparian also dismissed recent Azeri allegations that Armenia was in possession of a nuclear weapon–stating that Armenia’s nuclear potential was under strict IAEA control and supervision.